Record investment of $560m made in MENA start-ups in 2017

65% rise in investments since last year, with UAE witnessing 70 percent of transactions
The UAE received the majority of investments in start-ups, about 70 percent, while Saudi Arabia saw a 4 percent increase in deal transactions since last year, despite a 3 percent fall in the number of deals.
By Lubna Hamdan
Tue 16 Jan 2018 12:55 PM

Start-ups in the MENA region saw a record investment of $560m in 260 start-ups, according to the 2017 State of MENA Funding report by Dubai-based online start up platform Magnitt.

The investments were up 65 percent from 2016, with e-commerce and FinTech remaining the most popular industries, accounting for 11.9 percent each.

The UAE received the majority of investments, about 70 percent, while Saudi Arabia saw a 4 percent increase in deal transactions since last year, despite a 3 percent fall in the number of deals.

Lebanese start-ups saw a 12 percent drop in investments from 2016, while Kuwait saw a 3 percent increase in deal transactions from 2016.

Some of the top investments included $150m in ride hailing app Careem, $90m in streaming service StarzPlay Arabia, $41m in courier firm Fetchr, $20m in payment solution Paytabs and $12m in travel search engine Wego.

The Magnitt report does not include investments in Turkey or Iran.

As for venture capitalists, 500 Startups was the most active in terms of number of deals, having arranged investments in over 30 companies in the region. They were followed by Middle East Venture Partners with 14 deals, KSA Funding Institutions with 8 deals and Saudi Aramco Ventures with 8 deals.

The start up community has seen a growing participation by family offices and individual angels and corporates, who look to launch accelerators and incubators, according to Magnitt founder Philip Bahoshy.

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Last Updated: Wed 17 Jan 2018 10:49 AM GST

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